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Key Reasons for Hydraulic Cylinder Breakdowns

Prevention, Hydraulic Cylinders Troubleshooting Series

Hydraulic cylinder breakdown in construction equipment can halt your operations, leading to significant revenue loss, time wastage, and potentially, loss of jobs. Understanding the primary causes and indicators of hydraulic cylinder breakdown is essential to prevent these expensive consequences.

Indicators of Hydraulic Cylinder Breakdown

Before a complete shutdown, a hydraulic cylinder typically shows signs of a problem. It’s time for repairs if your machinery exhibits:

  • Peculiar noises
  • Shuddering movements
  • Overheating
  • Irregular rod appearance
  • Fluid leakage

6 Principal Reasons for Hydraulic Breakdown

Recognizing the main reasons for hydraulic cylinder breakdown is crucial, as is knowing how to avoid such failures. Regular, scheduled maintenance is key to preventing system breakdown. Incorporate the following steps in your maintenance routine to minimize the risk of a complete hydraulic failure:

  • Ensure proper alignment and correct seal installation
  • Verify the use of appropriate materials and fluids
  • Look for irregular wear and tear or eroded seals
  • Before starting maintenance, refer to your hydraulic cylinder’s manual. If uncertain about the cause of a failure or how to fix it, seek advice from a hydraulic cylinder expert.


Contamination of Hydraulic Repair Near Me hydraulic fluid is a leading reason for hydraulic cylinder breakdown. Particles in the fluid can scratch or damage the cylinder’s interior, leading to damaged cylinder rod surfaces, seal degradation, and other issues.


Seal failure, due to improper fitting, physical damage, or extreme heat, can compromise the seals’ ability to maintain proper internal pressure. Regularly checking and replacing seals should be a part of your maintenance routine.


Piston and rod damage, often a result of normal wear and tear, can lead to bending or side loading. This adds unnecessary stress to your cylinder, potentially causing a complete hydraulic system failure.


Corrosion is a common problem in industries that use or store equipment outdoors. Rust and pitting on pistons, rods, and other cylinder components can lead to breakdown if not addressed. Prevent or mitigate corrosion by applying grease or other lubricants to your hydraulic cylinder.


Bore scoring, evident as deep marks or scratches inside the bore walls, compromises the hydraulic cylinder’s support when fully extended. It is often caused by increased side load, improper mounting, or alignment problems. In such cases, purchasing a new hydraulic cylinder may be necessary.


Among the most severe failures in hydraulic cylinders, split welds occur when a welded area, like a mounting point, cracks under excessive force. Causes include improper operation, external impacts, or neglected maintenance. Overlooking split welds in hydraulic cylinders can lead to worker injuries, equipment damage, and other critical issues.”

Frequent Inspections and Proactive Maintenance: Mitigating 7 Key Risks of Cylinder Failure

  • Seal Leakage: A frequent cause of Hydraulic Repair Near Me cylinder failure, seal leakage can result from incorrect installation, unsuitable metalwork clearances, and other factors like markings on seal grooves or corrosion.
  • Fluid Contamination: A major factor in seal failure, contaminated fluid containing abrasive particles can severely damage piston rods and seal surfaces. Often, this contamination comes from defective wiper seals, allowing airborne particles to enter.
  • Rod Bearing and Piston Rod Damage: Improper alignment between the load and the cylinder often leads to damaged rod bearings or piston rods, causing bending or side loading, and ultimately, failure.
  • Internal Barrel Corrosion: Caused by contaminated fluid, this type of failure suggests potential water ingress into the cylinder or misuse in inappropriate environments.
  • Eye Bearing Breakage: This occurs when the cylinder is subjected to loads beyond its specifications or sudden impacts from shock loading or high pressure.
  • Extreme Temperatures: Temperature can limit seal material or geometry choices (e.g., restricting polyurethane seals to a maximum of 50°C). Fluids used at extreme temperatures may lose lubricity, leading to seals becoming brittle or cracked.
  • Chemical Exposure: Hydraulic Repair Near Me Cylinder failure can result from chemical contact with the seal. Often, fluid manufacturers don’t fully disclose seal material compatibility with chemicals, leading to issues. Buyers should inquire about potential chemical interactions before purchase.

Besides these, several other factors like high pressure or side loading can cause seal failures. If you detect signs of hydraulic cylinder failure, contacting a reputable maintenance service like Motor and Gear Engineer is advisable. Known for their certified preventive maintenance and repair services for hydraulic cylinders and branded gearboxes, they can help address these issues effectively.”

A Hydraulic Repair Near Me hydraulic cylinder is a vital component of hydraulic systems, providing the linear mechanical force needed for pushing, pulling, or lifting heavy loads with significant force. These cylinders are ubiquitous, found in equipment like forklifts, mining machinery, tractors, and excavators. They play an essential role across various sectors, from agriculture to shipbuilding, ensuring the efficient functioning of systems and machines.

Given their critical role in both small and large-scale industrial environments, maintaining Hydraulic Repair Near Me hydraulic cylinders is crucial for their peak performance and reliability. Despite their robustness and utility, neglect can lead to failure. Common issues like fluid contamination and piston damage necessitate regular checks for leaks and contamination to maintain hydraulic cylinder efficiency. While minor issues may occur, diligent maintenance and timely repairs can stave off major breakdowns.

Understanding Hydraulic Cylinder Mechanics

The functionality of a hydraulic cylinder hinges on Pascal’s law, a fundamental principle in fluid mechanics. This law posits that pressure applied to a confined fluid is distributed uniformly in all directions, maintaining its intensity. In a hydraulic cylinder, an incompressible fluid, like oil or water, is used to transmit force from one area to another. Consequently, any increase in pressure at one point in the fluid results in an equal pressure increase throughout.

When a power machine activates the Hydraulic Repair Near Me hydraulic pump, a certain volume of hydraulic fluid flows through the system per unit time. The pressure in the fluid chamber is determined by the applied force divided by the chamber’s area. Depending on the generated pressure and the cylinder’s size, the pump can lift or push substantial weights, showcasing the power and versatility of hydraulic cylinders.”